Before Athens: Early Popular Government in Phoenician and Greek City States
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Most accounts of the origins of democracy suggest that the idea and its institutions sprung into life, fully-formed, in Athens in the late sixth century BC. Typical is John Dunn's (1992) Democracy: The Unfinished Journey 508 BC to AD 1993 which dates the beginning of democracy to the reforms of Kleisthenes that first provided for regular meetings for the citizen assembly in Athens. This paper picks up a concern raised by Simon Hornblower in Dunn's book that Phoenician cities and then other Greek cities had proto-democratic government well before Athens: "The Phoenicians堨ad something comparable to the self-regulating city-state or polis (and) the Greek political arrangements we most admire. Scientific study in this area has, however, hardly begun." (Hornblower 1992: 2)
Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2009
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Comparative Government and Politics